“Let your light shine before men, so that they may . . . give glory to your Father.”—MATT. 5:16.
1. What special cause for joy do we have?
HOW thrilling it is to hear of increases that Jehovah’s people are experiencing! Last year we regularly conducted over 10,000,000 Bible studies. This certainly indicates that God’s servants are letting their light shine! And think of the millions of interested ones whom we welcomed at the Memorial. They could thus learn of the love that God expressed when he provided the ransom.—1 John 4:9.
2, 3. (a) What obstacle does not prevent us from “shining as illuminators”? (b) In view of Jesus’ words recorded at Matthew 5:14-16, what will we consider?
2 Worldwide, Jehovah’s people speak many different languages. However, this does not prevent us from offering united praise to our Father, Jehovah. (Rev. 7:9) No matter what our mother tongue is or where we live, we can shine “as illuminators in the world.”—Phil. 2:15.
3 The increase we observe, the unity we enjoy, and the watchful attitude that we strive to maintain all contribute to our bringing glory to Jehovah. In this article, we will discuss how that is accomplished.—Read Matthew 5:14-16.
EXTEND THE INVITATION
4, 5. (a) In addition to preaching, how can we let our light shine? (b) What benefits may come from our kind demeanor? (See opening picture.)
4 “No one could be faithful and true to the Lord in these remaining days . . . unless he would avail himself of the opportunity of letting his light shine.” That was a comment in the article “Light in the Darkness,” published in The Watch Tower of June 1, 1925. The article then explained: “He must do this by telling the good news to the peoples of the earth, and by conforming himself to the ways of light.” Clearly, one way we let our light shine is by preaching the good news and making disciples. (Matt. 28:19, 20) In addition, we can glorify Jehovah by our Christian conduct. Householders and passersby observe our behavior. Our friendly smile and warm greeting say much about who we are and what kind of God we worship.
5 “When you enter the house,” Jesus told his disciples, “greet the household.” (Matt. 10:12) In the area where Jesus and the apostles often preached, it was not unusual for people to invite strangers into their homes. Today, this is not the custom in many places. Still, your positive, friendly manner as you explain why you are there can often allay a householder’s concern or ease his irritation. A pleasant smile is often the best introduction. That has also proved true when brothers and sisters engage in public witnessing using a literature cart. As you share in that form of service, you may find that people often react favorably to a pleasant smile and greeting. It may move them to approach us and take one of our publications. Your kind demeanor can also help you to start a conversation.
6. How did one elderly couple expand their ministry?
6 An elderly couple in England have health issues that severely limit their house-to-house ministry. They decided to let their light shine right outside their home. They display some Bible publications on a table at the time when parents come to pick up their children from a nearby school. Curiosity has prompted many to obtain copies of Questions Young People Ask—Answers That Work, Volumes 1 and 2, as well as brochures. A pioneer sister from their congregation joined them in their witnessing initiative. Her friendly manner and the couple’s genuine, sincere efforts prompted one of the parents to accept a Bible study.
7. What help can you offer to newcomers in your area?
7 In recent years, many countries have experienced an influx of refugees. What can you do to help such ones come to know Jehovah and his purpose? For a start, why not learn a greeting in the languages commonly spoken by newcomers in your area? The JW Language app is a tool that can help you do that. Additionally, why not learn a few phrases that may capture their interest? You might then be able to direct them to jw.org and show them the variety of videos and publications available in their language.—Deut. 10:19.
8, 9. (a) What practical help do we receive at our midweek meetings? (b) How can parents help their children to participate at meetings?
8 Jehovah lovingly provides the Life and Ministry Meeting so that we can become more effective in the field ministry. The practical instruction we receive at this meeting helps many of us feel more confident about making return visits and conducting Bible studies.
9 Many newcomers have observed that our children participate at meetings. Parents, help your children to let their light shine by teaching them to comment in their own words. Their simple, heartfelt expressions have sometimes prompted newly interested ones to recognize the ring of truth.—1 Cor. 14:25.
10. What role does family worship play in promoting unity?
10 Another way to let your light shine is by promoting unity in your family and in your congregation. One way parents can do so is by arranging for a regular Family Worship program. Many include watching JW Broadcasting sometime during the month. After viewing the program, why not take time to discuss how to apply the points that were featured? When presiding over family worship, the parent should remember that the guidance a young child needs may well differ from that of a teenager. Make suitable application of the study material so that each member of the family benefits.—Ps. 148:12, 13.
11-13. How can all promote unity in the congregation and help others to let their light shine?
11 How can young ones promote unity in the congregation and thus encourage others to let their light shine? If you are a Christian youth, why not make it your aim to take an interest in older ones? You might respectfully ask them to relate an experience from their years of service. You will find this very upbuilding, and both you and they will be even more motivated to let the light of truth shine. And all of us can make it a point to welcome those who attend meetings at the Kingdom Hall. Your doing so will promote unity and may move visitors to want to share in letting their light shine. Your efforts can include greeting visitors with a friendly smile, perhaps even helping new ones to their seats. Try to introduce them to others, thus making newcomers feel at home.
12 If you are assigned to handle a meeting for field service, you can do much to help older ones to have a share in the ministry. Do they have suitable territory? In some cases, you may choose to assign them to work with a younger companion who can provide physical support. You can also show understanding to those whose health and circumstances limit what they can do. Yes, your consideration and discernment can help young and old, experienced and less experienced, to preach the good news with zeal.—Lev. 19:32.
13 The psalmist was moved to exclaim: “How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Read Psalm 133:1, 2.) By being together, the Israelites benefited greatly from the good influence of others who worshipped Jehovah. It was like anointing oil that was both pleasant and refreshing. Why not be resolved to have a positive influence, promoting unity among your brothers and sisters? If you are already doing so, that is commendable. Could you “widen out,” that is, do it to a greater extent and more consistently?—2 Cor. 6:11-13, ftn.
14. What can you do to let your light shine in the neighborhood?
14 What about increasing your efforts to let the light of Bible truth shine in your neighborhood? Your kind words and deeds may well attract a neighbor to the truth. Ask yourself: ‘How do my neighbors view me? Do I keep my home and property tidy, thus reflecting well on the neighborhood? Do I take the initiative to be helpful to others?’ When you are in conversation with other Witnesses, why not draw them out on how their kindness and good conduct have affected relatives, neighbors, workmates, or schoolmates? It is quite likely that you will hear positive experiences.—Eph. 5:9.
KEEP ON THE WATCH
15. Why is keeping on the watch vital?
15 Our attitude comes into the picture as we strive to increase the extent to which we let our light shine. Jesus repeatedly exhorted his disciples: “Keep on the watch.” (Matt. 24:42; 25:13; 26:41) Obviously, if we believe that the “great tribulation” is a long way off, that it will come sometime but not in our lifetime, we will lack a sense of urgency with regard to the preaching work. (Matt. 24:21) Instead of shining brilliantly in our neighborhood, our light will flicker and could even go out.
16, 17. What can you do to maintain a watchful attitude?
16 As these critical times worsen, all of us need to keep on the watch. When Jehovah acts, it will be at the right time. There is no question about that. (Matt. 24:42-44) Meanwhile, exercise patience, being ever watchful. Read God’s Word each day, and be vigilant with a view to prayers. (1 Pet. 4:7) Take note of sterling examples of brothers and sisters whose lives reflect their joy in keeping on the watch as well as letting their light shine. One fine example is the experience recounted in the article “Seventy Years of Holding On to the Skirt of a Jew,” published in The Watchtower of April 15, 2012, pages 18-21.
17 Fill your life with upbuilding activity and association. That will bring you great joy, and it will seem to you that time is passing quickly. (Eph. 5:16) A century ago, our brothers were busy and accomplished much. But we are accomplishing much more today under Jehovah’s guiding hand. We are letting our light shine to an extent that could not have been imagined previously.
18, 19. How can congregation elders help us to be vigilant and active? Illustrate.
18 It is faith-strengthening to know that our imperfection does not stop us from serving Jehovah acceptably. Consequently, appreciate Jehovah’s provision of “gifts in men,” congregation elders. (Read Ephesians 4:8, 11, 12.) The next time an elder visits you, take advantage of the opportunity to draw on his wisdom and benefit from his advice.
19 Two elders in England responded to a call from a married couple who were having problems. The wife felt unevenly yoked spiritually. Her husband admitted that he was not the best teacher and did not arrange for regular family worship. The elders directed the couple’s attention to Jesus’ example. He took care of his disciples and considered their needs. The elders urged the husband to imitate Jesus. They encouraged the wife to be patient. The elders also gave the couple some practical suggestions on how they could work together to have family worship with their two children. (Eph. 5:21-29) Later the elders commended the husband for his efforts. They encouraged him to persevere and to rely on holy spirit to help him become a good spiritual head. Their loving interest and support have helped this family to let their light shine.
20. What can you expect as you let your light shine?
20 “Happy is everyone who fears Jehovah, who walks in His ways,” sang the psalmist. (Ps. 128:1) When you let your light shine—by inviting others to serve God, by conducting yourself in a way that promotes unity, and by maintaining a watchful attitude—you will find increased happiness. Others will see your fine works, and many will be moved to give glory to our Father.—Matt. 5:16.